The Hampton Roads area has been described by parents as a friendly, educationally rich place to home school children.
In Virginia Beach there are 1,478 children being home schooled and in Norfolk there are 482, according to reports compiled by the Virginia Department of Education.
In addition to those students whose parents have elected to teach at home there are a handful of children who have been exempted from participating in public or private schooling because of religious training.
According to the VDOE, students can be excused from school attendance by reason of “bona fide religious training or belief.”
There are 20 children in Virginia Beach and two in Norfolk falling under that distinction.
Homeschooling is defined as one alternative to school attendance outlined by the state.
It is the parent’s job to make sure kids are going to school and complying with the state compulsory attendance law.
But what makes this area any different from other parts of the state when it comes to homeschooling your child?
Brittany Gutierrez has been homeschooling her two children for the past five years.
She said parents who choose to homeschool their kids might do so for a multitude of reasons.
Gutierrez said she felt while the public schools in her district, Chesapeake, were excellent, they weren’t a good fit for her children and their learning styles.
“I was spending so much time on homework every night that I felt my time would be better served just teaching them from home full-time,” she said.
With their eclectic home schooling method her children have thrived and been able to learn much more than they would have in public school alone.
“I can teach to mastery when I’m teaching a concept,” Gutierrez said, adding she’s also been able to teach her children all year-round.
Sherene Silverberg has been homeschooling her two children all of their lives.
She made the decision early on in her pregnancy that she wanted to teach her children a more classical method at home and give them a chance to learn how to think critically.
Both of her children participated in co-op homeschool classes and groups.
One will attend William and Mary in the fall and the other will start at Tidewater Community College and then enter William and Mary in the Fall of 2020 as junior.
Both Gutierrez and Silverberg pooled local resources to help teach their children at home.
There’s so much to do in the area on a given week, Silverberg said.
In addition to the large number of historical sites and museums, Hampton Roads has a large online homeschooling presence through their Facebook group where parents can exchange information and resources with each other.
With that support group, no homeschooler will fail, Silverberg said.
Resources for homeschoolers
It can be overwhelming at first when parents decide to homeschool, but there are so many resources out there to help guide them through.
Moore Expressions is a Virginia Beach used and new book store for homeschoolers that will help them find your way through the curriculum options, Silverberg said.
Interested in learning more about home schooling? Find out more information on the VDOE’s website or check out one of the resources listed above.